The Goa State Pollution Control Board on Wednesday kept pending its decision on renewal or grant of fresh ‘consent to operate’ to South West Port Limited of Jindal Group for handling coal in Vasco.
The current consent to operate will expire in March this year.
The board at its meeting deliberated on coal dust pollution in the Jetty area but restrained itself from deciding on the consent, as the GSPCB has not received a compliance report and data on various measures taken up by the company.
“Subsequent to receipt of various representations from locals as well as media reports on coal dust pollution, matters relating to renewal of consent to JSW has been kept pending. As the consent is in operation till March, we have kept the matter for further discussions and deliberations till the time we receive compiled reports and data on air quality, including a status report on compliance of the consent to operate,” a board member explained.
The board at its meeting held in June last year had unanimously approved the application of South West Port Limited for the grant of fresh consent to operate for a period of nine months to help the ongoing source apportionment study for identifying the exact source of pollution in Vasco.
The board had reduced the consented capacity to 0.4 million tonnes per month which is 3.6 MMT for nine months from July to March, and had asked the firm to submit a bank guarantee of Rs 1 crore.
A close watch by a GSPCB scientific team had also been stipulated on coal activities for ensuring safe levels of air pollution.
Before granting the fresh consent, the board had earlier rejected the application for fresh consent after finding that the company did not have valid environmental clearance, which had expired 12 years ago in 2006.
However, the steel manufacturing company had submitted a letter dated May 18, 2018 signed by director of ministry of environment, forest and climate change Arvind Nautiyal stating that the environmental clearance issued by the ministry of shipping dated January 24, 2001 for the construction of two multipurpose cargo berth (5A&6A) at Mormugao port has been valid and subsisting.
The board at its meeting held in January 9, 2018 had also cancelled the consent of South West Port Limited for violating the consent on handling capacity and issued closure directions to the facility.
In December, 2017, the GSPCB had also filed a criminal complaint against the Mormugao Port Trust and South West Port Ltd for handling coal in excess of consented capacity at the MPT berth Nos. 5A and 6A for 2012-13, 2014-2015 and 2015-2016.